Volunteers inspiring kids to be all they can be –
United States Congressman Brad Wenstrup was on hand Thursday, July 28 for the kick off of Junior Deputy Boot Camp at Church 180 in Seaman.
“This is a wonderful program,” Wenstrup said. “I really applaud people at the local level like Sheriff Kimmy Rogers and the churches who are working to make sure kids are getting the right message and using their time wisely while they’re out of school.”
More than 70 young people joined Wenstrup and Sheriff Rogers for the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag during Thursday’s opening ceremony before dividing into four age-appropriate groups to run an obstacle course set up by Sheriff’s deputy Micah Poe.
“The kids love the obstacle course,” said Talitha Parks, Student Pastor and Student Leader at Church 180. “The older the kids are the more difficult the course becomes, but they really seem to like the discipline, the rules, and interacting with the deputies.”
Volunteers are a key component of the camp’s ongoing success. According to Parks, volunteers guide the children through fun, age-appropriate activities during the three-day camp. “We attempt to give them positive role models, positive influences and positive direction.”
Local community service organizations also volunteered for the event including: The Seaman Life Squad, Fire Department, and the Adams County Health Department.
“Our volunteers are priceless,” said Sheriff Rogers.
Michael Parks, Pastor of Church 180, says the volunteers’ integrity is essential to teaching the kids that they can be successful in life.
“We want to make sure that we’re positive role models who give these children the message that they can be anything they want to be if they put their hearts and minds to it,” said Parks.
Now in its fourth year, the Boot Camp program was launched by Sheriff Kimmy Rogers in partnership with local churches and the LINK mentoring program (Leading, Interacting, and Nurturing Kids). According to Pastor Parks, “The Junior Deputy Boot Camp program was created to address the drug culture that has invaded our county. We are focused on helping kids understand that they can change the drug culture, and live better lives, and be whoever they want to be. They can dream big and make their dreams happen.”
Congressman Wenstrup, who has supported legislation to address the drug problem, says he believes the Boot Camp is an effective tool for educating young people. “There’s nothing better than prevention – nothing beats never starting,” he says. “I think ten years from now that these kids will say this program had a positive influence on their lives. You may not see it today, but they’ll look back on it and say ‘you put me on the right road’.”